A new study suggests living next to busy roads and streets is more than an inconvenience — it could have an impact on your health.
Living next to busy streets and loud neighborhoods isn’t usually the first choice of someone looking to relocate. And now, according to a new study, this living situation is more complicated than a simple inconvenience; this situation increases your odds of developing heart disease.
Published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, the study found that prolonged exposure to loud noises and air pollution has been linked with heart failure, especially in the case of women, which made up the majority of the study’s participants.
“We found long-term exposure to specific air pollutants and road traffic noise increased the risk of incident heart failure, especially for former smokers or people with hypertension, so preventive and educational measures are necessary,” said the lead author of the study, Dr. Youn-Hee Lim. She said researchers were initially intrigued by the way in which air pollution and road traffic noise interacted, and whether or not that had an effect in people.
Researchers analyzed the data from over 22,000 women, aged 44 and older, whose stats were followed by a period of 20 years. The study monitored all sorts of information, from levels of fine particle matter, nitrogen dioxide from cars, buses, and more, to road traffic noises measured in decibels. Results showed that exposure to nitrogen dioxide and fine particulate matter increased the risk of heart failure. Exposure to noise increased this risk as well, even if to a lesser degree. Women who experienced pollution from noise and contaminated particles in the air were at most risk for developing heart failure.
While many of these factors are out of participants’ control and should be managed by governments and other parties responsible, lifestyle choices, like whether participants smoked or not, worked out often, and kept an eye on their blood pressure, were helpful in curbing the negative side effects.
Sometimes where you live can’t be improved upon, but lifestyle choices could help you balance out your situation.